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xM3THODx

Curious Question about Cyanobacteria belief

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xM3THODx

I just want a get a census of what reefers believe about cyanobacteria breakouts. My question to you all is do you believe it's part of a systems process like diatoms and eventually every tank will get it? Please answer with your belief.

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Clown79

From what I have seen, it seems at 1 point or another most get cyano. I had cyano in my 10g, it was from detritus trapping in the larger sand grains.

Replaced sand and never had it again.

 

I thought I had it in my other tank but it wasn't cyano.

 

I think each system is different, rocks used, method of cycling, export of nutrients etc etc and the outcome will be different. 

 

Some hobbyists have huge outbreaks and difficulties getting gha and cyano under control and others don't. I think all of the above plays an importance.

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Amphrites

I mean, all tanks have it, seems it usually crops up where actual stuff being actively broken-down has settled, otherwise I can't comment past noting all the beautiful and well-maintained tanks which end up with occasional-patches or breakouts themselves. Probably (definitely?) also a part of the uglies, some get dinos, some get cyano, this time around I got weird hairy-cyano and some absurdly-rare, soft, bubble-algae which have all come and gone multiple times /shrug.

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seabass

I don't feel that cyano blooms are as inevitable as diatoms.  However, they are quite common.  I get patches occasionally.  I take it as a visual queue to clean my sand bed.

 

It's my belief that cyano is usually associated with a build up of organics.  Although I've read some people suggesting that a bacterial imbalance can also contribute.

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mcarroll

Everyone has cyano whether they see blooming patches or not.  

 

Even if you somehow managed to keep it out of the tank generally or "treat it" with an antibiotic, corals have some cyano living inside of them, so you'd still end up with it.

 

If you're playing the game of trying to avoid having cyanobacteria, you better get comfortable with the fact that it's a losing game.

 

Most algae have access to photosynthesis for a carbon supply, and then need plentiful supplies of nitrogen  and phosphorus from the water (along with other major minor and trace nutrients as well) to support growth and reproduction.

 

If those conditions are met, in a reef tank 99.9% of the time you will get some type of green algae growth.  (Note: When the biology is seriously off, this is when you will get white cloudy water with a bacterial bloom rather than an algae bloom using up those nutrients.) 

 

On the other hand, there is the type of case when there are still a lot of nutrients available either in the water, or in the local environment, but those nutrients are out of balance.

 

Chances are that nitrogen and phosphorus are missing since those are the first two nutrients to get used up by the action of bacterial breakdown, leaving lots of extra minor and trace elements along with a large bacterial mass.

 

Cyano can compete alongside those bacteria where green algae cannot since they can access carbon from photosynthesis AND they have the ability to utilize gaseous nitrogen (N2) as well as alternate forms of dissolved phosphate compared to other algae.

 

This is how you see cyanobacteria growing:

  • on the edge of your high flow powerhead – cyano is not caused by low flow
  • on recently dead corals and on patches in the sand
  • co-blooming with dinoflagellates

In the first case where are you see cyanobacteria growing on your power heads, nutrients are badly out of balance in the water. Sometimes this does not have any bearing on the overall health of the reef. Corals tend to do just fine if there is phosphate but very little nitrate. Corals are very good at recycling nitrate for this reason.  

 

In the second case, which I think is the most common, where cyanobacteria grows on coral skeletons and on the sand bed, that is where bacterial action breaking down the leftover food in the sand bed or tissue inside the skeleton is generating the local imbalance that allows cyanobacteria to compete and bloom.

 

This is the case where too little flow comes into play, but not by causing cyanobacteria but instead by allowing leftover food (and detritus) to settle.   Leftover food (over feeding) is particularly bad because food is replete with all major minor and trace nutrients, but it's being used to grow something other than fish and coral.  Dry processed food is worse because its nutrients are enriched beyond natural levels in many cases AND because none of the nutrients are encapsulated within a cell wall, they're all immediately available for use or to dissolve out into the water.

 

It is noteworthy that some of the most popular pumps on the market do not provide enough force of flow to lift heavier detritus particles.  There have only been measurements of a few pumps that I am aware of, but I would be suspicious of any extra wide flow pump with "very soft flow" on this basis.

 

The last case, where they can be found blooming with dinoflagellates, is rare but telling.

 

Cyanobacteria is durable and can bloom anywhere under almost any conditions.  Even in the presence of powerful toxins and under "zero nutrient" conditions, which to me makes perfect sense since it was one of the first lifeforms on the planet and has survived through every iteration of atmosphere, ecology and biology that the planet has had to offer over almost 5,000,000,000 years. 😉 

 

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xM3THODx
16 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Everyone has cyano whether they see blooming patches or not.  

 

Even if you somehow managed to keep it out of the tank generally or "treat it" with an antibiotic, corals have some cyano living inside of them, so you'd still end up with it.

 

If you're playing the game of trying to avoid having cyanobacteria, you better get comfortable with the fact that it's a losing game.

 

Most algae have access to photosynthesis for a carbon supply, and then need plentiful supplies of nitrogen  and phosphorus from the water (along with other major minor and trace nutrients as well) to support growth and reproduction.

 

If those conditions are met, in a reef tank 99.9% of the time you will get some type of green algae growth.  (Note: When the biology is seriously off, this is when you will get white cloudy water with a bacterial bloom rather than an algae bloom using up those nutrients.) 

 

On the other hand, there is the type of case when there are still a lot of nutrients available either in the water, or in the local environment, but those nutrients are out of balance.

 

Chances are that nitrogen and phosphorus are missing since those are the first two nutrients to get used up by the action of bacterial breakdown, leaving lots of extra minor and trace elements along with a large bacterial mass.

 

Cyano can compete alongside those bacteria where green algae cannot since they can access carbon from photosynthesis AND they have the ability to utilize gaseous nitrogen (N2) as well as alternate forms of dissolved phosphate compared to other algae.

 

This is how you see cyanobacteria growing:

  • on the edge of your high flow powerhead – cyano is not caused by low flow
  • on recently dead corals and on patches in the sand
  • co-blooming with dinoflagellates

In the first case where are you see cyanobacteria growing on your power heads, nutrients are badly out of balance in the water. Sometimes this does not have any bearing on the overall health of the reef. Corals tend to do just fine if there is phosphate but very little nitrate. Corals are very good at recycling nitrate for this reason.  

 

In the second case, which I think is the most common, where cyanobacteria grows on coral skeletons and on the sand bed, that is where bacterial action breaking down the leftover food in the sand bed or tissue inside the skeleton is generating the local imbalance that allows cyanobacteria to compete and bloom.

 

This is the case where too little flow comes into play, but not by causing cyanobacteria but instead by allowing leftover food (and detritus) to settle.   Leftover food (over feeding) is particularly bad because food is replete with all major minor and trace nutrients, but it's being used to grow something other than fish and coral.  Dry processed food is worse because its nutrients are enriched beyond natural levels in many cases AND because none of the nutrients are encapsulated within a cell wall, they're all immediately available for use or to dissolve out into the water.

 

It is noteworthy that some of the most popular pumps on the market do not provide enough force of flow to lift heavier detritus particles.  There have only been measurements of a few pumps that I am aware of, but I would be suspicious of any extra wide flow pump with "very soft flow" on this basis.

 

The last case, where they can be found blooming with dinoflagellates, is rare but telling.

 

Cyanobacteria is durable and can bloom anywhere under almost any conditions.  Even in the presence of powerful toxins and under "zero nutrient" conditions, which to me makes perfect sense since it was one of the first lifeforms on the planet and has survived through every iteration of atmosphere, ecology and biology that the planet has had to offer over almost 5,000,000,000 years. 😉 

 

Very thorough answer and insightful knowledge. So I take it that you believe it'll eventually bloom in a reef tank. Thanks!

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